SF and staff have now secured 3 new commits after their first week on the job. not too bad.
they've also sent out tons of new offers, and the big theme of most of the offers is speed, speed, and more speed.
additionally, in a breath of fresh air, NU is hitting the JUCO ranks hard with offers. RB coach held used to be a JUCO head coach so I'm sure he has a ton of contacts. It also just simply makes sense considering some of the top JUCO programs are nearby Nebraska. Plus, those kids have matured and have more tape to watch to get a sense of their ability to fit and contribute and continue to develop, and almost all of them have spent 1-3 years away from home in some shithole small town, so they're used to being on their own, and they'll think Lincoln is like New York compared to where they've been living for many of them.
So far the recruits include a top ranked S from Florida, a top JUCO WR who runs a 4.3 40, and a TE/WR hybrid from Florida.
There's tons of offers out to kids in Florida, which makes sense considering SF and staff coached in the state for the past 2 years. I also think there's a lot of under the radar kids all across the state, and tons of speed.
NU has also lost a few commits from the MR era, which is expected. it can be argued for all recruits whether they're truly committing to the school or to the coaching staff, but it is what it is, and many of these top recruits have been developing relationships with other coaching staffs for 2 or more years, so in many cases it will be too difficult for SF and staff to make up that ground and overcome a more familiar relationship those recruits have with other staffs.
but, they have developed their own recruiting board and recruiting relationships, and that will pay off as they move forward.
In each of the previous coaching transitions, it can probably be argued that recruiting suffered a bit, and that is probably to be expected in this case as well. When BC took over, he was coming from the pros and had 0 info on prep recruits, plus had to hire a staff so was basically starting from scratch, and he had to change his offensive philosophy. When BP took over, he was a first time head coach, so he had to assemble a staff and start from scratch with developing a recruiting strategy, targets, develop relationships, etc. When MR took over, he mostly brought his OSU staff, and they should have been more prepared, but they were changing the offense, again.
This time around, I'm hopeful we'll see a better transition class. SF has now brought over his entire UCF staff, and they've all been recruiting together for 2 years now, and have established relationships with both recruits and schools and coaches. I think we'll also see them target JUCOs in this class more than normal, first to help with the offensive transition (think speedy WRs and RBs) but also to plug some holes in the depth chart (DB maybe). Misses at the JUCO level don't hurt as bad because those kids only eat a scholarship for 2-3 years instead of 4-5 for a miss at the prep level.
The staff hit the ground running, doing tons of in home visits and extending offers, and meeting with current commits and setting up official visits.
Right now it looks like they've done their work to keep many of the current commits in the class (Jurgens, Mapeiu, Farniok, Pickering, Wildeman) but it looks like WR Cam Brown may be leaving soon, and WR Moore and CB Bookie have already decommited.
It's also nice to see the staff focus on the state of NE and the surrounding areas. The previous 2 staffs talked a lot about the 500 mi radius but then it sounds like perhaps there was some admin stuff going on that prevented them from actually doing that. One was apparently the staff being told that JUCOs aren't a fit because of academic progress rating by the football program (wtf?) and another was that either Billy Devaney and/or Diaco basically forced a hard line regarding numbers at positions as well as very specific measurables (height, weight, armspan, etc) for positions. That type of thinking is what resulted in top NE recruit Bryson Williams not even getting an offer, and instead committing to Wisconsin. SF and staff have made up a lot of ground there, though, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him stay home instead now.
Considering the size of the class, and the almost guarantee that we'll see some kids leave in the offseason, I wouldn't be surprised to see this class approach the max of 25, although I think 20-22 is more likely. I think we'll see a breakdown similar to this:
QB - 1
I think it's smart to grab a QB in every class regardless, and it's doubly important in this class for SF to get someone he thinks has the best skillset to run his offense moving forward. I think that both Gebbia and POB have the ability to execute his offense even if they might not be the biggest running threat, but you still need to have more QBs in the room and on the roster. NU just hosted a top dual threat QB in Adrian Martinez who is currently committed to Tenn but I think he'll flip this week and then sign early and enroll early in Lincoln.
RB - 1-2
Injuries hit at the RB spot pretty much every year, and we don't know when or if Bryant will recover from his knee surgery/issues. I think SF also likes more speed and versatility at the RB position in his offense, as they often will flex or motion out as WRs, or even simply line up as WRs.
WR - 4-5
Depth is an issue here, with basically only 4 scholarship WRs returning (Morgan, Spielman, Lindsey), and one of them was out all season after knee surgery (McQuitty). They need to get some bodies in the program for depth, plus SF likes to run 3 and 4 WR sets a lot. They've already landed a JUCO here which helps tremendously, and there's still the possibility that KJJR returns to Lincoln as well.
TE - 1-2
SF's offense seems to utilize a more athletic TE as a receiving threat rather than as a blocker, so I'm not sure how NU's current TEs on the roster fit with that, although I think last year's redshirts in Allen and Rafdal should work. Both are taller guys who are good athletes who excelled at BB as well, not sure on their speed, though.
OL - 1-2
NU only has 1 OL commit for the class in Farniok, who is slated to play C. NU has a lot of younger OL in the system right now, so I don't think huge numbers are needed here, but it would be nice to land an OT or two. They've targeted a couple of JUCO OTs which makes sense, but not sure if they're late to the game in that regard or not.
DL - 1-2
The good news is that new DC Chinander also runs a 3-4, so in general I think the recruiting board doesn't have to be overhauled. More good news is that he likes an attacking 3-4 and thus they want a lot of speed on the field. Depth at DL actually isn't that bad right now, so I think they'll look at a couple of local prospects (in state Williams and mizzou target Daniel Carson) and try to fill out the class that way. Mapeiu and Wildeman are already committed and seem like good prospects.
LB - 1-2
Lots of young RBs on the roster, but I'm not really sure what we have at all, or who fits where (ILB, OLB, DE) especially if Chinander wants more speed and more attacking. I think the staff will target the best they can get at the LB spot and then see what happens in the spring
DB - 3-5
NU needs DBs. Badly. At one point in the season NU had only 3 CBs they were comfortable playing, and even had to move one of them to be the starter at S because so many S were hurt. NU returns Lee, Jackson, Bootle at CB, and Williams, Reed, Domann, Dismuke at S (also Butler and Anderson are on scholarship rotating between S and CB). Hopefully Domann will recover from surgery in time to be full speed for spring ball. NU needs an upgrade at CB, though, and are targeting maybe the top JUCO CB in this class. They've also now secured a commit from a florida S prospect (although academics might be an issue). They've targeted a top S prospect from texas as well. Both for this class and moving forward I think the skill position recruiting will be in good hands considering their ties and relationships in TX and FL. It seems like it's always easy to find WRs, DBs, and RBs in those 2 states.
Overall, SF and staff appears to be pretty well organized for their first week, and are working hard on recruiting prior to the early signing day and prior to the dead period.
The other good thing about this transition is that there's pretty much unprecedented coaching turnover at top schools this season. SF and staff have made it a point to target decommits and current commits at schools such as UF, FSU, and Tenn. There's going to be a lot more top recruits still available due to all of these coaching changes.
The early signing date definitely changes things, but it's also the first year it's available, so it will be a little different for everyone, including established head coaches. It will both hurt and help SF and NU this year, as they don't have time to establish relationships with top recruits who want to commit and enroll early, but those kids will "go off the board" if they sign elsewhere, and the landscape will change for all schools since the recruiting pool will shrink after many kids sign early. They'll at least know who is still available and might have legit interest in the program, though. I also like the potential this staff will have to do some work in Jan before the standard Feb signing date, that's 3-4 weeks to finalize the class.